Dáil debates

Tuesday, 28 June 2022

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Dental Services

11:40 pm

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I have heard the Deputy's comments from across the Chamber and I assure him that the Minister and I appreciate the difficulties experienced by young people waiting for orthodontic care. As I outlined to the House, the Department and the HSE are undertaking a number of initiatives to address the question of waiting lists for orthodontic care. The Government is committed in the coming years to the transformation of oral healthcare services in accordance with the guiding principles set out in Smile agus Sláinte, the national oral health policy, which was published in 2019.

Under that policy, all children up to 16 years will receive eight oral healthcare packages, including examinations, assessments, advice, prevention interventions, emergency care and referrals as appropriate. The packages will be provided in a primary care setting by oral healthcare practitioners contracted by the HSE. With respect to orthodontic services, the policy supports the delivery of some orthodontic procedures in primary care dental practices, supported by clinical care pathways.

The policy recognises that in line with international evidence, some orthodontic care may be provided in different types of primary oral healthcare settings where the level of skill of the oral healthcare practitioner will match the complexity of care required. Orthodontic treatment involving inpatient surgical interventions and multi-specialty advanced care will be provided in advanced oral healthcare settings. Smile agus Sláinte provides the groundwork to transform oral health services and it embraces the same ideals as Sláintecare, with the needs of people at the core and the provision of services in the local community paramount.

Again, if the Deputy wishes to send the details of that young girl to me or the Minister, we will follow up with the HSE and see if there is any way the matter can be dealt with.


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